Tagged: Blue Jays

So Much For That Game, Eh?

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OK, so it was Vernon Wells’ turn to have a big night for the Blue Jays. Fine. Marcus Thames had one for the Yankees. The problem was Huuuughes. He just couldn’t put hitters away. With two strikes they kept fouling off his pitches and driving up his pitch count and necessitating way too many mound conferences with Posada. What a frustrating game, particularly since the Rays lost and we could have gained ground.
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The larger issue is our rotation. Who’s in it? Seriously. With Huuuughes nearing his innings limit (whatever the mystery number is) and Vazquez having been banished to the pen and Andy getting his groin healed and not due back until mid-September at the earliest, are we really prepared to move forward with CC, AJ, Moseley and Nova? Is it too late to get him?
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Oh, wait. He’s not in Canada anymore. And, fortunately, neither are the Yankees.
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Yankees Mash

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I love it when we score a lot of runs. I love it even more when it’s against the Blue Jays, who have become one of my least favorite teams. And I especially love it when we get good starting pitching as we did tonight with Moseley. What an onslaught by JoPo, Tex, Grandy, Thames, etc etc. I just hope Swisher will be OK. That foul ball off his leg hurt me almost as much as it must have hurt him.
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Before the game I went roaming around in New Milford, CT, in search of Yankee fans (or at least somebody who would talk about the Yankees). My first stop was the Big Y Supermarket to get the scoop (pun intended) on Turkey Hill Yankees ice cream versus Hood Red Sox ice cream. Take a look.
Next came a trip to the Big Y Pharmacy, where I spotted a Yankees cap on a shelf – right next to a Red Sox cap. What was that about? I figured I should ask.
I can’t wait until tomorrow so I can bother more unsuspecting people on my summer vacation.

We Were Robbed!

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Yes, the home plate ump had a bizarre strike zone. And yes, Morrow was very good. And yes, we only lost to the Jays by a run in a game we should have won off their bullpen. But I’m talking about getting robbed by Girardi and his quick hook.
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I really wanted to see more of Ivan Nova, and Joe pulled him after only 73 pitches. I felt deprived!
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Not only was the kid fun to watch (after that hairy first inning), but he showed some serious attitude in the exchange with Bautista, and I would have LOVED to see what might have happened during his next at bat.
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Instead, we had to witness Bow-tista taking a six-hour bow around the bases after he homered against Robertson, not to mention his fist pump in Cervelli’s face as he crossed home plate. What a creep. 
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Tonight’s Game Was Why I Love Baseball

No, not because the Yankees beat the Red Sox, although beating the Red Sox is always sweet. And not because our offense (with the help of a couple of miscues by Boston), made quick work of Beckett, although sending him to the showers is very satisfying. The reason I loved this game is because it proved yet again that you never know what will happen when two teams go at it. Which is another way of saying that what looks like a pitching mismatch on paper might not be a mismatch after all.
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So, when I heard that A.J. had a back problem and would be replaced by Dustin Moseley, who’s been a pretty good spot starter but isn’t exactly a Cy Young Award winner, I figured we were toast.
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But then the Yanks put two runs on the board early and Moseley held the lead, giving up a homer to Hall but otherwise throwing with poise and efficiency. What’s more, he made a couple of great defensive plays and was just plain impressive. When Joe pulled him in the seventh, the crowd gave him a well deserved standing O.
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I kept thinking, as John Sterling is fond of saying, “Who would have predicted this?” Does it mean that Moseley will be brilliant his next time out? No. That’s the point. Anything can happen on any given day in baseball. Just ask Brandon Morrow of the Jays. I doubt he was expecting to miss a no-hitter by a hair. And what were the odds that the Orioles would go 5-1 under Showalter today? Getting back to the Yankees, did I expect Jeter to break Babe Ruth’s hits record in tonight’s game? Or that A-Rod would record his 300th stolen base? Or that Tex would bang out his 25th homer in a season that started off awfully slowly for him?
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OK, there was one thing that was entirely predictable: Mo threw one pitch and got one out to end the game. Sometimes predictability is very welcome.
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A-Rod: The Youngest Ever To Hit 600 Homers

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I got choked up after he hit the big one today in his first at-bat. Why? Because it was historic. Because his teammates came out to hug him. Because the crowd was very appreciative. And, best of all, because it brought an end to the “special balls” and other annoying stuff, and allowed the Yankees to go back to focusing on winning games. Salvaging the finale of this series and halting the three-game slide was important; the Yanks restored order!
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Very nice to see Jeter go 4-for-4, for Huuuuughes to survive the heat and high pitch count to keep the Jays in line, for the bullpen to continue its great work. I will now go about the rest of the day feeling better about life. Thank you, Yankees.
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And now that the Twins just beat the Rays, we’re back in first place. I will sleep well tonight.
P.S. Thanks to Peg, for alerting me to Curtis Granderson’s blog post about A-Rod. Definitely worth a read, everyone.

Big League Stew - MLB

I was able to witness history on Wednesday as Alex Rodriguez(notes), one of my teammates, hit his 600th career home run.

I can’t imagine being in a situation where every at-bat is being played nationally. All eyes were on Alex every time he came to the plate and MLB Network was cutting in from its regular programming to show his at-bats. On top of that, there was only one specific kind of hit that would please the audience each time — a homer.

Alex went 46 at-bats between homers. That happens all the time to players around the league, including the great ones. But in this instance it was magnified. To his credit, he didn’t go up to the plate swinging for the fences or swinging to get 600. He had three multi-hit games and two games with three RBI between 599 and 600. He was letting the situation dictate the at-bat, not trying to force history. He was doing what he could to help the New York Yankeeswin baseball games, and a lot of times in that stretch between homeruns, a two-out single to drive in a run or two was what would help. That’s what Alex did.

What is incredible about Alex is that he actually is one of the few players I know that could go up to the plate with the goal of hitting a homerun, and accomplish it. There is no other explanation for that than to say it is pure talent. His swing is so smooth that it just naturally carries power with it. Some of the swings he hits homeruns with I think would be a ground ball for me. 

When I was first traded to the Yankees, all of my friends did three things. They recited Seinfeld episodes, they asked about Derek Jeter(notes), and they asked about Alex. There are a lot of players in sports that are considered polarizing. Some of those reasons are good and some of those reasons are bad. Alex definitely has a way of captivating an audience.

And when he walks into a room, everyone stops to look.

When people ask about Alex, I just remain truthful. He is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. His drive and passion to win is above any individual accomplishments he could achieve. On top of all that, he is an amazing teammate. After the trade, he called me within minutes to welcome me to the team. Other players followed, but he made that first phone call and made me feel welcome. When I came to New York for my press conference to be announced as a Yankee a week later, Alex flew in from Florida to show his support. He has helped me with everything else in New York from hitting to which route is the best to take home after a game.

I think it’s easier for people to get caught up and judge people based on what they see on SportsCenter, or read on Page 6 or even here on Big League Stew, but just remember that you don’t always get the whole story that way. I’ve had a lot of teammates in my career when you consider my time in the minor leagues, in Detroit and here in New York. But there is no doubt that Alex Rodriguez is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.

Bombed

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Maybe it’s the Blue Jays who should be called the Bombers, since they were the ones doing the bombing tonight. Every time I turned around, Wells or Bautista or one of those guys was hitting the ball out. Clearly, Moseley isn’t CC and Wood isn’t Mo. And Mitre? Why even bother. Just DFA him already and call up one of the kids.
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Offense is still AWOL. Third loss in a row. No longer in first place. What’s a Yankee fan to do? I’ll tell you what this Yankee fan did: watched the clip of the Red Sox and Indians going at it tonight.
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Josh Beckett looks really, really mad at Shelley Duncan, doesn’t he? All I can say is that their game must have been way more entertaining than ours.

Maybe Cashman Should Let Us Pick The Players

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We may not be GMs or professional scouts, but we fans talk to each other and we hear pretty much everything there is to hear about a player. For example, when the Yankees were looking at free agent starting pitchers prior to the ’09 season and ended up signing A.J. Burnett, here’s what several Toronto fans told me:
“He’ll frustrate the hell out of you. One minute he’ll look like the best pitcher you ever saw. The next he’ll break your heart. He’s the definition of inconsistency.”
I remember saying to myself, “Oh, that’s just sour grapes because the Blue Jays can’t afford to keep A.J.” But those fans were right, and I wish the Yankees had listened. Not that Burnett hasn’t been spectacular on occasion, and let’s face it – we won a championship with him last year. But how does a guy seem to be cruising and then give up seven runs in one inning?
Well, sure. He wouldn’t have given up seven runs if Girardi had pulled him sooner. But that’s beside the point. The bigger question is why hasn’t he become a more consistent pitcher – an elite pitcher – at this stage of his career? Is he uncoachable? Is he a head case? Or does he just have too many tattoos on his arms?
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I don’t know, but tonight’s game was disheartening. Yes, it was fun to watch Swisher hit two out and for Tex to go deep. And yes, it would be nice if A-Rod would get back on track, even if it means cranking out a few measly singles. And big round of applause for the pen – Robertson, Logan and Joba were great. But it all comes back to A.J., who didn’t cut his hands on the glass door again but made my eyes bleed.
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